Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Review: What The Fox Learnt

What The Fox Learnt
What The Fox Learnt by Aesop

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ever since I bought my Kindle, I have been searching through the free books to find some to read to my boys. They boy are enamored with Mommy's latest toy (though more because of the apps that I have downloaded than the books). I also feel that it gives me a chance to mix it up a bit when it comes to reading to them at bedtime.

They were both familiar with some of Aesop's fables, thanks to story time and random books pulled from the library shelves. But they hadn't heard any of these stories involving Fox before. The four stories contained within are short - a page or two of writing each with a beautifully drawn picture to go with each story - so we were able to get through all four stories relatively quickly.

The first story is The Fox and the Crow, where Fox gets crow to drop some bread that he'd like to eat by complimenting her wonderful singing voice. The moral for this one is, "Do not trust flatterers."

The second story is The Fox and the Goat, in which Fox tricks Goat into coming down into a well. Fox had fallen and, rather than ask for Goat's help getting out, tricks Goat into coming in with him then climbs out over Goat's horns. This moral is, "Never trust a man in difficulties."

While the first two stories showed Fox tricking others, the second two are more humbling for the crafty being. The third story is The Fox and the Grapes, which is the only one that I was previously familiar with. In it, the Fox is trying to reach grapes that are out of his reach. When he realizes that he won't be able to get them, he leaves mumbling about how they are probably sour anyway. While the phrasing of the words - "It is easy to despise what you cannot get" - didn't make as much sense to my boys, the idea behind it was one they struggle with.

The final story is The Fox and the Cat. This was, by far, my favorite of the set. Fox is bragging how he has so many different ways to escape the hunters, while Cat admits he only has one. When they here the hunters coming, Cat hides among the trees. Fox, however, is struck with indecision on which of his escape tricks will work best and ends up getting caught and killed. The moral, "Better one safe way than a hundred on which you cannot reckon," is one that resonates with me because I'm often confronted with far too many things to that need to be done and, in my indecision over where to start, never get to any of them.

While the words of the moral are a bit above my three year old's understanding, the rest of the story is very easy for him to understand. The bite-sized portions also keep his attention better than some of the longer stories do. It's one that he has asked for repeatedly. My six year old understands quite a bit more of it, but the stories are too short for him. So this is one that is usually pulled out at nap time rather than bedtime.

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